Bones of a dead ship

When I asked my boyfriend what he was up to yesterday, he said, “Researching shipwrecks.” He’d been on a album launch/cocktail cruise the previous night during which the DJ played the entirety of Gordon Lightfoot’s “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

Which is weird, because I’ve been researching shipwrecks as well. The New Yorker article I linked to on Wednesday led me to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor” (full title: The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor Who Drifted on a Life Raft for Ten Days Without Food or Water, Was Proclaimed a National Hero, Kissed by Beauty Queens, Made Rich by Publicity, and Then Spurned by the Government and Forgotten for All Time). Which made me think about wrecks in literature, like Robinson Crusoe*, and Jonathan Franzen’s meditations on this classic while spending time on the uninhabited island of Masafuera (which means Farther Away in Spanish). There’s something terrifying about shipwrecks, but also romantic in their primordial man-against-nature struggle. Thus, we have The Odyssey, Gulliver’s Travels, Twelfth Night, Life of Pi, even Tom Hanks befriending a volleyball in Castaway. And thus we have Gordon Lightfoot eulogizing the dead men of the Edmund Fitzgerald:

*Full title: The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un‐inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver’d by Pyrates. Jeez, they used to have long titles back in the day.